Haggle! Get BT, Sky or Virgin Media for less

ask for cheaper deals

Watching new customers nab hundreds of pounds in vouchers or half price broadband for a year can be a little galling if you're paying full whack for the same thing.

But loyal customers can also bag a bargain.

Big providers like Sky, BT and Virgin Media hate losing customers to rivals and will often go a long way to preserve your valuable custom.

It's just a question of haggling the price down and, in this guide, we show you how.

If haggling doesn't get the result you want, cancelling and signing up as a new customer, either with your current ISP or elsewhere, is also an option: skip down the page here for more on what's available.

The rewards for haggling

Most of us wouldn't be able to recall the last occasion on which we partook in the monetary dance that is haggling, although the rewards can be great.

Some customers have reported savings of over £150 a year.

Many people also nab, to name just a few:

Tempted? Thought so.

How to negotiate

There are five basic ways to approach the call to customer services.

1. Cut out services, cut costs

"Hi -
At the moment my package is XYZ and costs £X amount each month. I don't really watch channels AB and C any more. Can you remove them to make my package better suit my needs?"

This approach is pretty straightforward: if you're paying for something you're not using or could do without, get rid of it and pay less.

Ideal candidates for ditching are premium movie or sports channels, multi-room subscriptions and HD offers.

Problems can arise if you're attempting to knock down the price within the first year of your contract, especially if you received a special price or special offer when signing up, but even then it's not impossible.

It's also worth noting that once you've got rid of a number of premium services it becomes more likely that Freeview will offer the same or almost the same services as pay TV much more cheaply.

2. Add in services, cut costs

"Hi -
I have my broadband with you but my phone line with BT. If I paid line rental to you how much would I pay overall?"

Less obviously, taking a number of services from one provider could mean a lower overall price.

Take care to check the details before signing up. Moving home phone provider, for example, may not be worthwhile if you end up paying for more calls because you get fewer inclusive minutes as part of the contract.

It's worth taking a look, if you go this route, of looking at specific existing customer upgrade offers.

For example, those who already have Sky TV can sign up online to one of the following 'upgrade' offers when they take broadband or fibre broadband.

Offer You get Additional price
sky £25 M&S voucher Broadband Unlimited
Fibre broadband Unlimited
£7.50 a month for standard
£20 a month for fibre
Visit Sky

If you were thinking about taking another service it might also make sense to do it through an upgrade offer, or haggle, rather than just adding it, when the standard price is likely to apply.

Here are just three of the current upgrade offers:

Offer You get Additional price
sky £10 cash when you upgrade to Sky Sports £10 credited to your bill The sports pack is £22 extra a month Visit Sky
sky Six months half price Sky Movies Sky Movies for less, give a months notice to cancel £8 or £4 (if you have Sports pack)
£16 or £8 after six months
Visit Sky
sky Two month free trial of Sky Go Extra Free trial (note this service is free anyway if you have Multiroom) Free for 2 months,
then £5
Visit Sky

These deals do change and there are also other offers available, so if you're a Sky customer, keep an eye on Sky's existing customer offers page here for more.

3. Offer to pay upfront

Similarly, many providers allow customers to pay upfront for line rental.

If yours does, you're paying full price and you don't mind getting tied in for a year, you can save. Find out more here.

4. The guilt trip

"Hi -
I've seen a deal for new customers offering XYZ and there is also a deal with a rival provider offering ZYX which is very similar. I've been a loyal customer for X years now and would like to stay with you could you offer me something along those lines?"

Turns out, TV, broadband and phone providers get jealous.

Useful links
Find current bundle deals here
Read up on Sky and Virgin Media here
More on pay TV here

Consider the following scenario:

A family of four with three Sky boxes, one HD+ box in living room and two normal boxes in bedrooms want to upgrade both the bedroom boxes to HD+. They call Sky who say it'll cost £400.

The family phone Virgin Media who offer to install V+ HD in all rooms for £100. So they ring back Sky and tell them about Virgin. Surprise surprise Sky reduce their first offer from £400 to just £60.

It's a bit of a ridiculous malarkey to go through but it really does work.

5. The cancellation threat

"Hi -
I'd like to cancel my subscription as I'm finding that I can't really afford to keep it going. I'll probably replace it with a Freeview HD box."

Asking for new services is one thing but the biggest bargaining chip consumers have, and the one most often used in negotiations, is cancelling altogether.

Customer service staff are usually only authorised to 'give away' a certain amount in terms of new deals for existing customers.

If what they're offering doesn't float your boat then you'll be better off being passed to customer retentions', corporate mumbo jumbo for cancellations.

The guys and girls in cancellations can potentially give you a much better deal as their job is entirely focused around, you've guessed it, retaining customers who want to cancel.

However, it seems that often how successful you are can depend on who you speak to, what time of day it is (because each member of retentions staff is given a daily discount budget) and perhaps even what mood they may be in.

The problem: deal or no deal?

Once you've outlined your situation the agent may well offer you a reduced monthly rate, free channel package, broadband upgrade or similar deal.

A popular Sky gambit is to reduce the cost of its TV packages by half for six months.

At this point the whole scenario can get a bit Deal or no Deal.

It's up to you to decide whether the offer on the table is one you are happy with or whether to gamble, snub the offer and try to squeeze a little more value out of the adviser on the other end of the phone.

In one case we've seen, a Sky+ HD customer rang the call centre to explain that they were finding their subscription to be a struggle financially and would therefore like to remove the HD and movie package from the monthly bill.

"No problem," the agent said. "That's been cancelled for you."

But, hanging up, the customer felt hard done by: she'd heard reports of six months half price deals being dished out left, right and centre.

Five minutes later, she called back to say that she had decided to cancel the whole package. Right on cue she was offered six months half price, including the HD and movie packages that had been cancelled on the previous call.

Sky, with their many bundle options, are best known for offering deals.

However, that doesn't mean that other TV, broadband and phone providers aren't all doing the same thing.

Virgin Media also have a big retentions department and even smaller providers like Plusnet, Be and O2 have been known to dangle a carrot in front of an equivocal customer's nose.

No deal: what next?

Finally, sometimes the best way to save money is to stop threatening and actually cancel.

The bonus is that new customers have great offers handed to them on a plate rather than having to earn them through hard fought negotiation.

Am I a new customer?

Be careful, though, providers are no fools and they have rules on what constitutes a 'new' customer designed to stop 'cancel and resign' deal grabbers.

With Virgin Media and Sky, for example, you have to leave for at least a year to get new customer deals: get more detail on these rules in our full guide.

The best special offers

That being the case, it might be worth considering another provider, especially if they happen to have good offers which will make them cheaper for the first year or give you access to premium services for less.

Here are the current special offers for the big providers:

Virgin Media

Save up to £180 in the first 12 months on Virgin bundles Sign up here for one of Virgin Media's pre-made bundles for this offer here
Save up to £57 on Virgin TV Sign up for Virgin Media TV with a Virgin phone line for this offer here
Free installation worth £49.95 Sign up for Virgin Media TV, broadband and phone for this offer here

Sky

Introduce a Friend: £100 reward of your choice each Introduce a friend to Sky TV for this offer via this link here
25% off TV for 12 months + £75 bill credit (+ 12 months free unlimited broadband)
ends 21 Aug 2014
Sign up online to Sky TV with or without Sky Unlimited broadband for this offer here
2 years free unlimited broadband OR fibre broadband £10 per month for 1 year with Sky Sports
ends 26 Sep 2014
Sign up online to Sky Sports as a new or existing Sky TV customer for this offer here

BT

£80 Sainsbury's Gift Card
ends 8 Sep 2014
Sign up online for BT Infinity broadband to get this offer here
£25 Sainsbury's Gift Card
ends 8 Sep 2014
Sign up online for BT broadband for this offer here
Free phone line installation worth £130 Sign up for BT broadband and phone (if you need a new phone line installed) to get this offer here

You can also check out our guide to comparing BT, Sky and Virgin Media TV for help.

Budget providers also have a lot of offers for new customers, especially price cuts in the first few months to a year after switching. See those deals, plus more information on providers, in our guide to the cheapest providers which is here.

You can also check out the latest offers from all the providers in the search tool below:

Search new customer BT, Sky and Virgin Media deals
Choose providers:
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Postcode:

Comments

1
29 July 2014
Scott Bryant

I just called Sky with the request to cancel as the price for the full package @ £71.25 per month and just about to go up £4 next month is becoming a joke. The biggest killer is having the Sports package and with the upcoming Premiership about to start I said it would be a shame to miss it but if it means getting a cheaper deal and retaining the quality entertainment channels then it is a must. The very helpful gentleman in the retentions department was able to come back and offer me half price on both Sports & Movie packages for the next 12 months. Result.

2
30 June 2014
Chris Conley

I've just rang Sky to cancel my £98 per month contract. He said the best he could offer is half price line rental, so I thought I'd call his bluff, now I've cancelled it all. Arghhhhh. Hoping I get a call back, if not I'll save £98 a month.

3
12 May 2014
Pat

I said I would leave and got £1 landline and £1 broadband for a year.

4
14 April 2014
Tel

I used to be with both Sky and Virgin Media not to mention BT, in the past, always been jumping between the better offers for moving.

When I left Virgin, it was due to moving house, after I signed up for the whole lot as an upgrade offer, TV(XXL), BB(XXL, 100mb), Phone Unlm., + 1 additional box for the bedroom. As I was moving, I called them and explained that I currently pay nearly £100 per month, for these services, and that despite the high price, I was extremely satisfied with the services and the customer support/service I had received at the time. And they were oh so pleased to hear that, only problem was, the new house had no fibre cabinet nearby, and it could take up to a year before they'd get one there, (still in London, can't believe that), the best they could do was transfer the services, but offer me 0.25Mb - 1Mb BB on copper lines, normal phone and standard TV.... hold on tight, for THE SAME PRICE... bit outrageous? Clearly I cancelled the services and got a great offer, come back to Virgin Media any time, and they would give me £100 credit on my account and a free 6 month package when I chose to have it installed.

That was 2 years ago, I called them yesterday to sign up, and surprise surprise, the old offer no longer existed, and no records of it ever being made could be found.

However, after speaking to several managers and providing the original letter of promise to the head office, they are now installing my new services tomorrow, 152Mb BB, TV VIP (largest incl. Sky sports/movies/ESPN and BT sport) along with the standard phone line for weekends calls, all free for 6 months, then half price for 12 months, ending my term with the new 18 month contract.

All in all, only because I told them that both Sky and BT were willing to offer substantially better deals, and that I would contact them BEFORE agreeing to sign up with Virgin, then call them back to discuss ;)

Haggling definitely pays off, always tell them you have another offer from BT or Sky and that you'd like to speak to them before making up your mind, most times, they would offer a better one, and when you call back and tell them the new offer, they will do more for you yet again.

Good luck everyone, sorry for rambling.

5
26 March 2014
Kevin Groovy

I told Sky to shove their TV product some time ago.
Freesat means free TV. I've little sympathy for anyone who remains with Sky.

11 May 2014
Joy

:) for TV, never! I have Now TV box, amazing for £6.99 a month.

6
21 March 2014
david smith

I have the attitude, that if you sign up to the contract you shouldn't be fishing for offers, you agreed to it, only offers I'd give to people are those struggling or who have been with us a long time, out of all of the offers Sky, BT and Virgin provide, even though I did it for vm I always believed Sky did everything better, fair enough some people feel messed about but you get more channels, more HD, their sports are the cheapest and with Virgin you don't have access to them all, their movies are good, especially for 16 pound when Virgin do it for dearer, what people need to remember is who do you think Virgin pay for Sky services? So it's obvious they're going to charge more, and their offers change, sometimes there is actually nothing retentions can do, they can't just pick and choose what they want to give you, the system makes that choice for them.

7
15 February 2014
Paulb19573

I've just cancelled my Sky TV, broadband & phone package as the cost was going up almost monthly. Gone with BT Infinity 2. Much faster broadband for a lot less money. Basically got fed up of seeing all the free or discounted packages for new customers but nothing for me after being with Sky for 5 years! Sky are now trying to offer me all sorts - I've had phone calls, email surveys, the lot... Sorry Sky, too late. I'm not saying Sky are any worse or better than the others as they're all as bad, they all need to offer better packages and services, not just for new customers but to their existing ones too. I just got fed up with seeing new customers getting it all, so thought I'll join them and become a new customer with BT!

8
11 February 2014
steve

I'm with Sky but only just got it. I was on Sky live chat and was told if I sign up there and then I would get 40% off. A great deal it sounds, I agreed and signed through the links he gave me, only to find on my first bill its full price. I've emailed them and was told there's no record of any such offer on my account and that I should provide evidence which, being that it was on live chat there isn't any.

So I went back on live chat, told them the above and the response I got was "we don't deal with deals and offers" then logged off.

So, again, I signed back in, this time claiming I was a new customer looking to get Sky TV, surprise surprise, I got offered 25% discount for the same bundle. This conversation I recorded and sent to Sky the conversation I had, as they tried to deny any such offer, and awaiting response.

9
4 October 2013
Lisa

I have just given Sky my month's notice. I have all the channels, HD, etc. They offered me 20% off for the next six months despite me offering to take my phone and broadband back to them (a service which I cancelled last year). I declined the offer and handed the notice in. BT offer the same package but quite a bit cheaper with better broadband speeds! Time to sit and wait, will update in due course.

10
10 September 2013
june seghni

I just rang Virgin to enquire about upgrading to a Tivo box... On their website they had free installation for new customers on a particular package. I, who have been with them nearly ten years, was quoted a £49.99 fee. I told the girl - truthfully I might add - that I couldn't afford it, and mentioned seeing this offer online. Straight away I got offered free installation...

11
7 September 2013
ads

Hi all. My monthly bill for Sky was not as high as others - £46 p/m but I did the old, I don't watch these channels and I'm mostly interested in free to air and catch up, which I get for free anyway. Suddenly they could cut my monthly bills by a third and give extras for a year. 12 months from now I will be doing exactly the same and if in the end I have to actually cancel well so what.

12
12 August 2013
Sarah

I never wanted to save money on my packages I just wasn't using them that much so thought it might be better to just get rid. I had all of them with Virgin plus phone line and broadband. I wanted to cancel my TV and phone line and just keep the broadband, the woman I got was lovely she was very honest about not wanting to lose the custom and said that she would try and save me as much as she could. I am now getting the same as I was before plus an upgrade on my broadband and I'm saving £25 a month, so this is an avenue I would definitely recommend to any one who would like to save money.

13
30 July 2013
Jams O'Donnell

Hi, I just rang Sky to cancel my Movies bundle, I asked to have HD removed but was told if I did I could NEVER turn it on again! This sounds unbelievable - has anyone else heard of this? I'll ring back in a few days to try another operator.

14
2 July 2013
Simon Careswell

Just rang Sky to discus my constantly inflating monthly bill, the advisor could not help me and so I asked to speak to her supervisor.

The supervisor was a complete waste of time so I requested they put me through to the customer "retention" department. I spoke to a Scottish guy (name withheld) who was obviously not interested in helping me out so I went straight into the old "if you cannot get my monthly package down to at least £** a month then I will give you a months notice right now".

His reply was to say how sorry he was to hear that I wanted to cancel as it was my prerogative and basically "adios!".

So I'm now just waiting for the letter of confirmation and phone call from a NICE sensible Sky advisor to see if they can retain me! Watch this space...

3 January 2014
josh

I cancelled Sky completely, anyway they offered me 50 percent off two days after cut off, so I called them and they offered me 50 percent off for twelve months new HD box, extra multi-room half price for 6 months. I decided I wouldn't bother and told them it was not good enough, so then they gave me a very good deal of 75 pecent off for twelve months, that's 3 rooms with Sky Movies demand, £28 for 6 months £33 for the other six, best deal so far.

25 November 2013
Brian

Don't hold your breath, I did something similar and Sky didn't bother to contact me.
I had been a loyal customer for 20 years plus and got absolutely nothing.
Best to cancel completely then open a new contract in your wife's maiden name.
Hey presto - had box with wifi, no charges for fixing and 2 months free movies.
Not massive but I now have a new box which has a 12 month guarantee with built in wifi with no cables all over the house.

14 September 2013
canarianblue

I did this.
They phoned 7 days later and offered me completely free tv including sports and movies for 6 months.
Saving me around £50 a month :-)

15
24 June 2013
Sarah Stainton

I just read this and then immediately rang Sky. I told them that I really didn't want to leave but my finances were dictating that I should. Within 10 minutes I had received a 50% discount on movies and sport for 6 months and I will also get free broadband for 9 months.

My advice, lay it on thick, talk about how your hours are reduced at work and how you can't afford it, but really don't want to leave and hope they can do something about it.

Great article, saved me about £28 a month :)

24 June 2013
Choose team

That's really great to hear Sarah Stainton - well done on the savings!

16
9 June 2013
L Barnes

I was told by SKY that my bill would be £56 p/m .for tv phone and b/band,phone calls free 24/7. As of yet have not had bill for agreed amount,been £60 plus. I feel that having freeview tv hd, and only watch itv,best bet virgin b/band and a phone, but still have 6 months to run, give them a few bob and go elsewhere????

17
5 March 2013
PENELOPE

I have the TV broadband and Sky HD+ box, with free evening and weekend calls. It costs me £58.65 a month, plus calls and £8 insurance. I was asked if I wanted to add Sky Sports channels it would cost £21 on top, but they would not take anything off for long service or for being a loyal customer. A quote for the same package from BT was £41.25 plus £20 for Sky Sports, but they want me to get in touch with them before I cancel with Sky. I am tempted to change as it's £20 or so cheaper but found your information very helpful.

4 February 2014
guy

For the same package I pay £93, I think I need to get onto them.

18
6 February 2013
George

Well I gave Sky a ring the other day to say my bill was just getting stupid really, I pay £120 a month so about £1500 a year. I have everything with them from all HD TV to broadband to multi-room to 3D, "not that it's worth having". All they said is I can reduce my services - no deal, nothing to make me stay.

If I was new to Sky the services I have now would cost me about £68 a month - not right. So off to Virgin, the killer for me was the snow last month and Sky was down for a week. I know it's the weather but what got me was if there's no signal to the HD box you can't watch anything you recorded on the hard drive. I was thinking is that even legal as with Sky the equipment is yours bought and paid for unlike Virgin!

19
30 January 2013
joanna c

I am moving house. I gave 4 weekdays notice, and although I am paid for next month they have disconnected my Sky service. Is this allowed?

20
29 January 2013
John Hockaday

Hi, My total package with BT for broadband/calls and TV/Sky Sports 1 is costing way over £70 a month. I have now lost EPSN without warning and would rather return to Sky for sports... Is it better to get another provider for broadband and line rental, or put all my eggs in one basket?

21
11 January 2013
marilyn martin

I contacted Sky to try and to get a better deal for my Sky TV package. I have multiroom, HD movies and sport - the lot basically.

I was offered 25% discount which I declined. I was lettered by Sky to say they would contact me soon. The WIN BACK department called and offered half price for 12 months. During the conversation I enquired about switching my broadband/phone to them, the guy was useless and knew nothing about this but arranged to call back 31/12/12 at 6.30pm giving me time to look into this and assured me the same offer for the TV package would be available.

Needless to say no call back - I'm bewildered as to the point of arranging a call back? When I called them I was told that the 50% off was only available the day of the call and if I wanted to stop Sky being cut off I would have to pay full price. I can't believe this, I was actually offering more business, more money per month and they just weren't interested. Why did the guy arrange to call back? I have been a good customer of Sky for years and on the principle of this alone I will get a freeview box and top up tv; I will not return to Sky. I'm frustrated and furious by this standard of customer service. It feels like they had the customer over a barrel and tried to extort money. Horrible.

8 September 2013
David

I've had a similar scenario in the past with Sky. When you receive the 'How did we do?' email, mark all of the questions in the survey as poor and you should have a call from Sky asking what they can do to make things better again. Lay it on thick and you should be able to get a better deal than the one on the table in the first place. Hope this helps?

11 January 2013
Choose team

We're sorry to hear you had problems negotiating with Sky.

It sounds like some confusion may of happened and so in these cases it's always worth phoning back, re-explaining and asking again. With haggling and retentions, things can sometimes be different depending on the call advisor who answers.

Also, as with any provider, if you don't get a call back when expected it's always worth phoning the provider again and just re-explaining what you'd previously been offered and that you had been expecting a call back.

In terms of Sky, there may of been added confusion as Sky often incentivise their broadband packages to existing Sky TV customers as well as completely new Sky customers, and so with the benefit of hindsight, it might of been easier to accept the half price for 12 months offer on the TV, and once that was applied, then phone Sky back and ask to add on the broadband and phone service, which - at the time of writing (12/01/13) - broadband Unlimited is being offered free for 6 months for both new and existing Sky customers.

22
15 October 2012
Tony B

I'm just in the process of switching my broadband & phone to another supplier and today received a text message from BT asking me to contact them regarding any cancellation charges due. I called the number given and after giving my name and account details the lady immediately went into the "sorry you are leaving BT" and started to offer me vastly reduced prices if I stayed with them. When I refused the price was reduced even more in a last ditch attempt to keep me as their customer.

I am still changing providers but it just goes to prove that BT can be flexible on prices to try and keep an existing customer. Take Neil Hawkins suggestions and haggle. You've got nothing to lose and maybe a lot to gain!

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